Population Growth – What Happens in Sabah and Sarawak?

8 May, 2012

The population growth in Sabah over the past 40 years is so abnormal that many may think that Sabah women are the most productive in the world.

No thanks to the Barisan Nasional (BN) regime, Sabah is the poorest state in Malaysia by a clear margin, but why should there be an outrageous population growth in the state in the last 40 years?

During the Parliament session on 16th March 2011, the Prime Minister’s Department released the following population statistics for the country, concentrating on Sarawak and Sabah, from 1970 to 2010, and the statistics shows that there must be something very wrong in Sabah:

Year Malaysia Sarawak Sabah
1970 10,439,430 976,269 (9.35% of total) 636,431 (6.10% of total)
1980 13.1 million (up 2.66m) 1.2 million (9.16% of total) 1,011,040 (7.72% of total)
1991 17.6 million (up 4.5m) 1.6 million (9.09% of total) 1,734,685 (9.86% of total)
2000 22,202,614 (up 4.6m) 2,012,616 (9.06% of total) 2,488,348 (11.21% of total)
2010 27,565,821 (up 5.36m) 2,420,009 (8.78% of total) 3,120,040 (11.32% of total)
Increment from 1970 to 2010 17,126,391 (165%) 1,433,740 (148%) 2,483,609 (390%)

Is there a possible explanation how Sabah’s population grows by 390% in just 40 years?

It matters not a jot that the BN regime had denied this, but one needs only to walk in the streets and back lanes of Sabah, and you are bound to meet face to face many foreigners. They live like Sabahans, in towns, suburbs and floating villages. They are employed in restaurants and cafes, construction sites, markets, timber concessions, factories, road and drain works, fishing trawlers, taxis, godowns and warehouses, school canteens, and even in town halls.

Newspapers have published this often, and the above figures of the Prime Minister’s Department bear testimony, these illegal immigrants have Malaysian identity cards, the “MyKad”! Most ironic, many genuine Malaysians have to wait for years before they get their MyKads.

Worse, many of these illegals are registered voters!

Politicians from the ruling and Opposition parties in Sabah had complained of all these, but the BN Government will simply brush them aside, because these illegal immigrants are BN’s vote bank! They have turned Sabah to become what Najib has called the “BN’s fixed deposit state”!

The fact that these illegal immigrants have outnumbered locals and are competing with local Sabahans for jobs and create social problems is of little concern to the BN. To the BN, political expediency outweighs everything.

Many Malaysians in Sabah and beyond know that the BN Government had registered illegal immigrants as voters. The electoral roll in Sabah had become so foul and doctored that the High Court annulled it and ordered the Likas by-election. The Election Commission owes an explanation why illegal immigrants have been registered in the rolls, only to see the BN use its brute majority in Parliament to legislate that the electoral rolls are henceforth unimpeachable in Court.

Until there is a Royal Commission of Inquiry, we may never know when had the BN Government started legalizing illegal immigrants as voters in Sabah.

It could have been during the Pairin era, when the Kadazandusuns had a political awakening that saw Pairin Kitingan coming to power in Sabah. In order to wrest back the state, something very foul had to be done. Sabahans called it the “Project IC”.

“Project IC” was presented to the Parliament Select Committee on Electoral Reform. All MPs were jubilant when the PSC’s Interim Report that was presented in Parliament in December 2011 proposed for a reconfirmation or revalidation of the electoral rolls in Sabah and the establishment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the countless allegations of illegal immigrants afforded voting rights as phantom voters in Sabah.

The PSC was headed by Datuk Maximus Ongkili, a Sabahan who knows only too well about the influx of illegal immigrants registered as voters in Sabah over the past 4 decades.

But when the Final Report of PSC was tabled in Parliament on 3rd April, 2012, all that were recommended in the Interim Report about reconfirming or revalidating the electoral rolls in Sabah and the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into illegals becoming voters in Sabah vanished into thin air.

The increase in the population of Sabah owes everything to these illegal immigrants but political expediency rules the day. A clean and fair 13th general election was a foregone conclusion. Najib would not have a Royal Commission to wash the BN’s dirty linen in public.

What about Sarawak? They say statistics do not lie. I am prepared to accept as realistic the growth rate of the national population over each decade. But one also has to consider that compared to the 1970’s, modern families tend to be smaller rather than bigger. An average household size is 4.3 persons (Department of Statistics, 2006) but it might well be closer to 5 persons in the 1970’s. This is particularly valid if one considers that Sarawakians are generally poorer, and poorer families tend to have more children.

I am also prepared to assume that “Project IC” was not a phenomenon in Sarawak, and that there are little geographical differences between Sarawak and Sabah.

Comparing the population growth of Sarawak with the national total, it is not difficult to note the steady decline, from 9.35% of the nation’s population in 1970 to 8.78% 40 years later. On the other hand, Sabah’s population growth registered an upward surge.

I have been to many longhouses all over Sarawak. Many Dayak couples have 6 to 7 children. Malays and Melanaus in Sarawak tend to have big families too. The Chinese have comparatively smaller families.

Overall, I would have been prepared to argue that the ratio of Sarawak’s population vis a vis the national total should at least be maintained at 9.35%.

Should its population be 9.35% of the national total, Sarawak should have a population of 2,577,404 in 2010. There ought to be some explanation to the difference of 157,395. Where have these people gone to?

I told the Dewan Undangan Negeri in November 2011 close to 100,000 Dayaks and anak-anak Sarawak have lost faith in Sarawak, as they seek employment in Singapore, Johor and the Klang Valley. If development distribution is equitable, the children of Sarawak will not have to leave their homeland.

157,395 Sarawakians have voted with their feet, by leaving the state and losing confidence in his Government. I cannot see how the present system will change under the BN Government. A lot of Sarawakians had promised to come back only after the BN has been replaced. I am looking forward to that historic day! –The Rocket

This article was written by on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 1:53 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Other News

Burying our dead – working with or against Putin?

21 July, 2014 0 Comments

By Mohamad Ariff Sabri, Raub MP Maybe it is too much of watching Cao Cao and Zhuge Liang. I am constantly looking for some alternative explanations to what seems so obvious. In the downing and brutal shooting down of MH17, the world is quick to point its finger to Putin, ... Full Article →

Artist Zunar, relentless fighter against tyranny (Part 1)

22 July, 2014 0 Comments

Malaysian political satire, while existing in the media, has been branded as being insolent to the ruling government with the existence of laws that have freedom of speech under its clutches, threatening to poison the very essence of our nation’s democracy. The few who do create art that pokes fun ... Full Article →

Thank you, veterans! Because of you, DAP prevails

2 April, 2014 0 Comments

On 2 March, Penang Chief Minister and DAP MP for Bagan Lim Guan Eng hosted a private dinner in honor of the Penang state DAP veterans. There are over 120 veterans in the state who have been party members for over 30 years. Of the number, about 70 turned up ... Full Article →

What’s wrong with the Terengganu crisis?

5 June, 2014 0 Comments

by Political Studies for Change (KPRU) Election fever has become a phenomenon in this equatorial country ever since the March 8 political tsunami, which has changed the political landscape, though the political transformation has not completed yet. To a certain extent, each legislature at federal and state level has put a different complexion on politics. The recent Terengganu political crisis and the storming of the Penang state assembly by UMNO members have to do with legislative politics. Legislative politics is different from election politics. From the parliament to legislature assembly in each state, the most frequent question that has been asked by people is about the attendance of members of elected representative, and as for some other incidents that have happened in legislature they have merely formed a part of their memory as people might find them obscure. Obscurity has become a byword for these pieces of memory due to the fact that people might not have the foggiest about these floating debris of memory. The most unforgettable legislative incident to the people goes to the seizure of power in the Perak state, and despite that, people did not necessarily follow on all the details and issues arising from the incident of seizing power in Perak state. This time - the Terengganu crisis is not only a political crisis, but also a ‘legislative crisis’. The lack of pressure from people in Terengganu lies in the insufficient knowledge about legislative which has saved Najib Razak’s shaky hold on power, as well as the dying Terengganu political and legislative crises from the jaws of death. The incident got serious. Media started to report extensively and non-UMNO members in BN also thought that it was a red flag. However, from the Prime Minister Najib’s statement announcing that the Sultan of Terengganu, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin had consented to the resignation of Ahmad Said as well as the appointment of Ahmad Razif Abd Rahman as the new Terengganu Menteri Besar; to the dramatic twist of events where Ahmad Said and and two other UMNO state assemblymen quited the party and then later returned to the party, there appeared an unification in media reporting of the incident from the preparedness to deal with the incidents from different angles. As stability wins over anything else, water leaves behind no trails in its path. From Najib’s statement on 12th May 2014 to the new Menteri Besar Ahman Razif’s taking of oath of office before Sultan Mizan; and to the former Menteri Besar Ahmad Said’s announcement made at his official residence in Kemaman as to his decision to withdraw his resignation from UMNO, the whole process took shorter than two days. Nonetheless, all of the incidents that have occurred in the midst of the Terengganu crisis must not be dismissed out of hand, particularly when comes to the interpretation of matters involving legislative, which calls for some clarification and so that when similar event takes place in future, people in the particular state would no longer stay static in the face of the crisis. This Terengganu crisis, after Ahmad Said and two other UMNO state assemblymen quited the party, left Barisan Nasional with 14 state seats, against Pakatan Rakyat’s 15 in the assembly, giving an equation of 15:14:3, with 3 being the “independent reps”. On the same day, that is, 13th May, the Terengganu state legal advisor Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid, when contacted by Bernama, has claimed that despite the fact that the number of BN assemblymen had dropped from 17 to 14, the state assembly Speaker was counted as a representative of the ruling state government, thereby giving an equation of 15:15:3. It was Wesak day, which is also a public holiday. After founding director of think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU), Ooi Heng and his family offered prayers in a Buddhist temple and after he came across Azhar’s misleading statement, Ooi Heng shared his personal view on Facebook, taking the view that the Speaker shall have the casting vote only when the voting comes down to a tie. After talking to a journalist, Ooi Heng is even convinced that the real reason behind Terengganu state legal advisor making misleading statement was to buy some time for UMNO’s political power, so as to resolve the political and legislative crisis. The Federal Constitution has given exposition on legislative power, which includes both parliament and state assembly, and under which the Speaker’s voting right is also covered. The Federal Constitution is basically modeled on the Westminster parliamentary system. Schedule 8, Paragraph 10 (1B) of the Federal Constitution makes it clear that the Speaker of legislative assembly who is not an elected representative has no voting power. Whereas according to the Article 27 (1B) of the Constitution of Terengganu, non-member of the Assembly elected as Speaker has no voting right. Terengganu assembly speaker, Mohd Zubir Embong, is not an elected representative, as he was appointed as assembly speaker on 16th June 2013 after being defeated in the election for Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat. Hence, the controversy over the question of whether the speaker’s vote can be counted shall not even arise. In fact, not only does the state assembly follow the Westminster legislative custom, but the parliament of Malaysia is also following the system. The Article 57 (1A) of the Federal Constitution clearly provides that any person elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives who is not a member of the House of Representatives has no voting right. Furthermore, according to the Standing Order 45(1), the speaker shall be entitled to give his deciding ballot only when the voting comes down to a tie where ayes are equal to noes. This deciding ballot can be known as the casting vote, or ‘undi pemutus’ in Malay. The aim of this article is to clear doubts on this legislative incident, and as far as the Speaker’s voting right is concerned, no critical comment is intended to be directed at the roles that both government and the opposition have played in this political power crisis. However, I am of the opinion that despite the misleading statement by the state legal advisor, government and opposition elites should still be held responsible politically for this legislative incident. It is indeed bizarre that both government and opposition have no idea about the legislative procedures in the Terengganu state assembly when most of the assembly members are from UMNO and PAS. In the two days within which the 3 UMNO state assemblymen became ‘independent reps’ (Less than 48 hours), Terengganu state assembly has actually been beset with crisis. While there was likely UMNO fall down in Terengganu, UMNO has nonetheless got themselves some time to stabilise their shaky hold on power. Apart from UMNO taking the lead in this incident, the fact that PAS was being indifferent to the misleading statement will go down in the history of legislative politics. History is bound to repeat when political elite’s political action has not been properly examined. -The Rocket * The views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of the columnist ... Full Article →